This little-known program is truly amazing! We’ve booked weeklong resort stays with 3 bedrooms and full-kitchens in New-Hampshire, Florida and the Poconos for as cheap as $20/night.
The Armed Forces Vacations(AFV) Club is a free program for Active-Duty, Reserve Military Members as well as DoD Civilians like me.
The standard deal for the AFV Club is weeklong stays all around the world(200,000+ resort accommodations) for $349. However twice a year they seem to come out with a BOGO (Buy one week get one free) promotional deal where you can book two separate weeks of vacations for the price of one.
What I really love about this program, is that the vacations are priced per unit and not per person. During our 3 vacations using this program, I’ve invited my Parents, my In-laws, and my family, 8+ people(2-3 bedrooms).
What’s even better is that most units come with a fully outfitted kitchen, so we can save money by cooking meals! We usually rotate cooking duties and just contribute to a collective food budget and all go shopping at the beginning of the week.
Also depending on the resort there are some great amenities offered: golfing, skiing, swimming, beaches, tennis courts, hot-tubs, gyms, crafts, basketball courts, planned activities, and excursions, etc.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? I thought so too, until I actually used it, now 3 times! However, as with most good deals, you do have to work with some constraints.
- Only Military Members are eligible (active duty, guard, reserve and retired U.S. military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense)
- These vacations are mostly available during off-peak seasons
- There is no membership cost to use this program
- Most bookings are for one full week
- The AFV Club is part of Wyndham Worldwide, which offers condominium-style timeshare resorts.
- Inventory of over 200,000 resort accommodations in over 100 countries
- The $349 USD per week Vacation Stays are comprised of inventory that is unlikely to be used due to high supply or low demand.
- Best for those that don’t mind traveling to popular locations in the off-season or with less than 10 days’ notice.
- They say you have to show your CAC card, but I’ve never been asked for one
- Sometimes it may pay to book a whole week even if you only need a couple days.
The Places We’ve Stayed:
Lincoln, New Hampshire
Lodging: Innseason Resorts: Pollard brook
Cost: $190.20 ($27/night)
Dates Stayed: 12/11/16 – 12/18/16 [7-days]
Lodging: Shawnee on the Delaware: Ridge Top
Cost: $190.20 ($27/night)
Dates Stayed: 10/23/16 – 10/30/16 [7-days]
Lodging: Villas at Fortune Place
Cost: $360.47 ($52/day)
Dates Stayed: 05/27/17 – 06/03/17 [7-days]
How to Search for a Vacation
You can search through inventory by Destination, Travel Date, and Price Types
Then you can further filter by Price, Trip-Advisor Rating, Bedrooms/Occupancy, Kitchen Availability, Amenities, and Activities
Then you can search through the results via a list format
or based on their geographic location on a map
How to gift a Vacation to a non-military member
So perhaps you are a military member, but don’t have the time for a vacation and just want to gift a friend/family-member a great trip at the exclusive AFV club rates.
These make great gifts, and AFV Club will allow you to do this through their “Resort Vacation Certificate” program, which you as a member can purchase for $409. The certificate must be redeemed within 1 year of purchase.
Making the most of this deal
So as stated before, using this program is best for those that can be flexible. If your willing to work within the constraints you can do extraordinary vacations for ridiculous prices.
So I booked a week in the Poconos and a week in New Hampshire using the BOGO promotion, so in total 2 weeks for $380.41 after taxes, but during the Poconos trip, they asked us if we wanted to sit in on a voluntary timeshare presentation which would include a free breakfast and $99 visa gift card whether we said yes or no.
So we sat through it, and it was pretty easy to say no as there was no deal they could give us that could beat $380.41 for two weeks! And now after the $99 visa card they gave us, that became $281.41, divide that by 14 days and we only paid $20/day! And that was for 8 people!
Now that’s frugal vacationing, the best way to travel!
For the Poconos trip, I decided to do a working vacation to conserve my vacation days. Since it was only 35 miles from my work, I commuted to work, and let my family and extended family enjoy the amenities, and I joined them in the evenings.
I think for our next trip we will book an international vacation, thinking maybe in Tuscany somewhere. We’ll book it maybe a year in advance, hopefully, a 3-bedroom with a full kitchen. And then use frequent flyer miles to get there, and invite some friends to come along.